Tuesday 17 October 2023

#WEP #October2023 - My #flashfiction, THE GHOST OF OPERA GARNIER

 Hello all!

It's time for October's WEP challenge, based on the Phantom of the Opera. For this #flashfiction, I have retold the classic story in fairytale form, using third person omniscient, not the 'person' I usually write in, but I felt it suited this story.

Hopefully, my retelling of the classic suits the October thrill fest.


The Ghost of Opéra Garnier

Opera Garnier showing its underground caverns

Once upon a time, in the beautiful heart of Paris, beneath the majestic Opéra Garnier, lay a world hidden from prying eyes. From the pinnacles of its rooftops to its underground caverns and lake, it was a realm of whispers and shadows. Here passion and despair intertwined like dark strands of haunting melodies.

This was the home of the Phantom of the Opera who had lived in a labyrinthine lair beneath the theater for as long as anyone could remember. Shrouded in mystery and illusion, his soul bore the weight of a thousand unspoken sorrows.

The Phantom had been a legend in the Parisian opera house for decades. He was a genius - a composer, master of disguise, violin virtuoso. His compositions, resembling fragments of a tortured soul, echoed through the corridors and enchanted every soul who heard them.

But the Phantom's true genius lay in his artistry of concealment. In the decades he had inhabited the cavernous spaces, he had never been seen by a single soul, his presence only known through the haunting letters and cryptic instructions he was wont to write.

He was hideously disfigured according to the rumor spread by members of the Belle Epoque society who floated through the opera house halls in search of the next exquisite rendition of their favorite operas.

But if no one had seen him, how did the rumor begin?

There was but one who knew him.

Her name was Christine Daaé, a beautiful, talented young soprano, the Phantom’s obsession. She was entranced by her mysterious benefactor, believing him to be the Angel of Music her father had promised would watch over her when she embarked on her new career. Her voice had drawn the Phantom like a moth to a flame. He tutored her in secret, taking her from chorus girl to star of the opera in a few short months.

One evening, as Christine prepared to perform her signature role as Marguerite in "Faust," a fragrant red rose lay on her dressing room table, accompanied by a note in elegant handwriting.

"My dearest Christine,

Tonight, the world shall hear your voice as never before. Tonight, you shall be the embodiment of perfection. Do not forget, my love, that you are mine, and I am yours. Let none come between us. Every note you sing, every breath you take, is a symphony of our shared passion.

Yours eternally, The Phantom"


 Christine's heartbeat tripled in speed. She knew the Phantom watched her every move, guiding her to greatness.

“I will honor you with a perfect performance, my Phantom,” she whispered, laying the red rose in the center of her dressing table.

She sang from the bottom of her heart; the audience hung on to her every note. The Phantom whirled around her, a presence guiding her to perfection.

Performance over, the applause was one almighty roar. Over and over she was called back to the stage to bask in the adoration of the crowd until she stood knee deep in red roses.

But the only red rose she cared about waited in her dressing room.

She rushed from the stage as soon as the curtain fell for the final encore, her heart pounding with the thrill of the night.

As she entered the dressing room, the Phantom stood before her, a shadow cloaked in darkness. Here he was, the man who haunted her dreams and shaped her destiny.

"Christine." His voice a mix of longing and desperation.

She approached him, hand outstretched, curiosity overcoming her fear. "You were there," she whispered, "with me on stage. I felt your presence. Are you indeed a ghost as they say?"

"Yes, I cannot deny it." His voice trembled. "My ghostly form allows me to always be with you, my dear Christine. Your talent is a mystical gift from me, a reflection of our love."

Christine reached out and touched the glittering silver mask. "Why do you hide your real self?"

He hesitated, then removed his mask. “If you reject me, I will leave his building, and you, forever.”

“I will never reject you, my Angel.”

The sight that met her eyes was beautiful and tragic. His skin pallid, his features distorted by a cruel twist of fate. But his eyes, pools of deep emotion, overflowed with a yearning that reached into Christine's soul.

"You see, my love, I am a monster as they claim," he murmured. “Unexplained deaths are laid at my door. They declare I am a master of secrecy and horror.”

Tears welled in Christine's eyes. She gazed into his face. Placed a hand on his caped shoulder. "Never call yourself a monster," she said. "You are a genius, a maestro of music, a man with a heart that loves deeply."

Tears ran down the Phantom’s ravaged face. “I expected rejection, but your words fill me with a glimmer of hope.” He touched her cheek, his gloved hand trembling. "Christine, I have loved you from the moment I heard your voice. Will you ever be able to love a man as grotesque as I?"

Christine pressed his hand to her heart. "I already do, my Angel. I love you for the music you have given me, for the passion you have awakened in my soul as no other has done."

The Phantom could not believe his ears. For so many years, he had hidden in the shadows, a ghost, believing himself unworthy of love, and now, Christine offered him her heart. He kissed her hand, trailed kisses up her arm, his lips cold, yet gentle against her skin.

Their love was a forbidden one that defied convention. But it was a love that transcended the boundaries of the world above and the world below.

“My Phantom, together we will face the challenges that lay ahead.”

“Yes, Christine, our love is a melody that will endure for all eternity.”

And their bittersweet melody echoed through the hallowed halls of the Opera Garnier for all time, a testament to the power of love and music.

TAGLINE: Love will find a way, despite exceptional circumstances.

For the month of December, you get to choose your own genre, story theme, whatever inspires you.

POST December 1 through to 15. 

WEP invites you to write an entry for their first Anthology, the theme, Gone! Gone! Gone!
Submissions Open! 
Close end December!

Thanks for reading,



Wednesday 4 October 2023

#IWSG OCTOBER 4, 2023 - AI - Will it assist writers or replace them?

Hi all!

Time for another IWSG post. This month I'm very interested in the question:

The topic of AI writing has been heavily debated across the world. According to various sources, generative AI will assist writers, not replace them. What are your thoughts?

Like many writers, I've been following this debate for some time, well, years really. 

AI has come too far for us to stop it, or change it to much extent. 

Sure, there are writers suing ChatGPT for infringing copyright, but that's just a drop in the ocean. There are 18,000 Australian authors and 180,000 international authors who've had their copyright infringed as AI uses our books to teach from. This is going to mean copyright laws will need to be looked at.

I understand the negative view of AI-assisted writing, but I'm afraid it's here to stay, IMO. I've toyed with it, which is why I was interested to read an ARC of an author explaining how to use AI to our advantage.

Only available in paperback

Here's the beginning of Nina's blurb:

ChatGPT: Your Silent Co-author for Successful Romance Novels.

In order to make a living as a genre fiction author, you have to create more books, preferably in a linked series, faster than ever before.

And that is where a tool such as Open AI's ChatGPT can save you days if not weeks of work.

Say Goodbye to Procrastination, Boost Your Writing Speed, and Bring Your Romance Fiction to Life in Ways You Never Thought Possible.

ChatGPT is the writer's secret weapon. Shaping Bestsellers, One AI-Assisted Story at a Time.

You might be shocked that a romance author has already published this book months ago, but there you go.

Remember when mathematics was done in your head, then we developed the scientific calculator, then the computer which can solve a maths' problem in nanoseconds which would take us hours, days, months (me, forever). Taking this attitude, I can see Nina's idea of hurrying that writing along.

It is said that AI-assisted writing is the first real change since Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1440 and it was ready for commercial use 10 years later. The printing press finally democratised writing, printing texts at lightning speed instead of the beautiful, hand-styled pages laboriously created by monks and the like and available to very few. 

Haven't we all benefited from this invention?

So, I don't have a magic wand. Who knows how much AI will take over our writing. Amazon is onto it - you have to state if you've used AI in writing your book and you're limited to publishing 3 a day! Not that Amazon doesn't use AI - they've been using it freely to do all sorts of things data-wise. As have many other businesses.

And AI can do much more than write books - it can write code, create artworks, write essays and non-fiction articles.   

HERE is a link on how to write a novel using the ChatGPT novel template.




For those who are dead against AI-assisted writing, I'll point out that it covers:


Go on. Take a peek. (I haven't used it yet, but when I get my current 2 novels published without AI's assistance, I will experiment).

AI-assisted writing is only as good as what you feed it. You need to have ideas on the above and ChatGPT will help you refine them. Chat will come up with ideas instantly that would take a human over a week or more.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I have used ChatGPT to help me write blurbs. I suck at writing blubs and need all the  help I can get. Once ChatGPT spits out my blurb, I can use it as a springboard to improvement. I must say, Chat is not perfect - it takes a lot of editing to produce your work.

I'll be interested in what you all have to say. I firmly believe AI will assist writers, not replace them.

But I'm ready for probably the majority of writers who hate the idea.


The awesome co-hosts for the October 4 posting of the IWSG are Natalie Aguirre, Kim Lajevardi, Debs Carey, Gwen Gardner, Patricia Josephine, and Rebecca Douglass!

  Be sure to visit the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Website!!! 


Please join WEP for succulent stories for our October thrill-fest hosted by our very own horror author, Yolanda Renee Stout.

POST October 18 - 20th.

Question is, did I use AI to assist in writing my flash fiction?

Thanks for visiting,